Whatever the content of Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto III’s anti-Reproductive Health Bill (RH Bill) speech broadcast via radio today was, the bottom line is quite simple: Tito Sotto is a celebrity. His impassioned speech delivered in Tagalog, the lingua franca of Philippine showbiz, will likely have resonated across the Filipino masses. Sure, he made debatable links between the death of his child with actress Helen Gamboa in 1973 and the birth control pills she was taking at the time. But a successful campaign on the basis of nebulous, flawed, or non sequitur notions or arguments is not unprecedented in the Philippines.
The current President Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino III who, in 2009, campaigned for and successfully won the presidency on a pedigree platform and not much else of substance is a testament to that reality that imprisons Philippine politics. The character of a country’s politicians merely reflect the character of its society — specially in a democracy, where politicians’ power is supposedly derived from that oft-bandied fuzzy notion of the “people’s will”.
So how does Sotto’s plea to the religious sensibilities of the Philippines’ Roman Catholic masses stack up against the more learned arguments of the country’s elite chattering classes? You be the judge…
|SUPPORT INDEPENDENT SOCIAL COMMENTARY!|
Subscribe to our Substack community GRP Insider to receive by email our in-depth free weekly newsletter. Opt into a paid subscription and you'll get premium insider briefs and insights from us.
Subscribe to our Substack newsletter, GRP Insider!
Sotto believes that the RH Bill “transgresses Filipino Culture and Family”. As such the RH Bill, in Sotto’s mind is anti-Filipino. He had also experienced a personal tragedy after his son was diagnosed as having a weak heart at birth — a fatal condition which Sotto attributes to his wife’s use of contraceptives at the time of conception. On those bases, Sotto is convinced that (1) contraceptives are “not foolproof” and, when they fail, (2) result in the development of a weakened child.
Trained thinkers and scientists, of course, take for granted their ability to see the flaws in all of these notions. Trouble is, the majority of Filipino voters are none of the above. We are talking about a people who still to this day flock to cemeteries in enormous numbers to keep their buried loved ones company on an arbitrarily-set day every year. These are people who still believe bad things happen solely because of a wrathful deity’s “will” and good things happen solely because of said deity’s arbitrarily-bestowed “graces”. And these are people who still believe certain prayerful politicians arbitrarily anointed by their God are entitled to enjoy their votes.
So when Tito Sotto announces that he is on a mission from God to block the RH Bill because it represents everything that the good Roman Catholic should shun as “evil”, Filipinos will think twice — or at least their â€œrepresentativesâ€ will.
To be fair to the Roman Catholic Church, its position on the matter of birth control is quite clearly articulated in the encyclical letter Humanae Vitae of the Supreme Pontiff Paul VI…
We are obliged once more to declare that the direct interruption of the generative process already begun and, above all, all direct abortion, even for therapeutic reasons, are to be absolutely excluded as lawful means of regulating the number of children. (14) Equally to be condemned, as the magisterium of the Church has affirmed on many occasions, is direct sterilization, whether of the man or of the woman, whether permanent or temporary. (15)
Similarly excluded is any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreationâ€”whether as an end or as a means. (16)
Neither is it valid to argue, as a justification for sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive, that a lesser evil is to be preferred to a greater one, or that such intercourse would merge with procreative acts of past and future to form a single entity, and so be qualified by exactly the same moral goodness as these. Though it is true that sometimes it is lawful to tolerate a lesser moral evil in order to avoid a greater evil or in order to promote a greater good,” it is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come of it (18)â€”in other words, to intend directly something which of its very nature contradicts the moral order, and which must therefore be judged unworthy of man, even though the intention is to protect or promote the welfare of an individual, of a family or of society in general. Consequently, it is a serious error to think that a whole married life of otherwise normal relations can justify sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive and so intrinsically wrong.
Many of us probably recall, as teenagers, the very familiar admonition we get from our parents whenever we presume to do as we please as their dependents:
As long as you live under our roof, our word is the law.
Perhaps Filipinos should reflect on those words every time they step into a place of worship administered by the Roman Catholic Church to (and this, specially) receive its sacraments. Indeed, perhaps this RH Bill circus is all really about “choice” as many of its advocates say it is. Filipinos who opt to support the RH Bill do indeed have an even more fundamental and personal choice to make themselves.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.
20 Replies to “RH Bill ‘debate’: When Tito Sotto says ‘jump’ Filipinos ask ‘How high?’”
Why, the “other side” (the govt, tupid!)also has the proclivity for grandstanding and doing the exact same thing Sen. Sotto did. Demagoguery is alive and well in the Philippines!!! Thanks to BS Aquino!
And for those Pro-RH who twists things around and say that we Anti-Rh are claiming that we are classifying taking contraceptive pills as doing abortion, here’s my two-cents take on it:
â€Ž”ABORTION by definition is defined as the termination of pregnancy by the removal or expulsion from the uterus of a fetus or embryo prior to viability. An abortion can occur spontaneously, in which case it is usually called a miscarriage, or it can be purposely induced. The term abortion most commonly refers to the induced abortion of a human pregnancy.” – wiki
Therefore there is an intent when we say something is aborted. Contraceptive pills are said to also act as abortifacients which is the “unintended consequence” of the drug. It seems kind of dangerous to start applying the term “abortion” to what is really an unintended consequence of a drug as most Pro-RH are wont to do. There is a huge difference between possible side effect and purposeful intent.
However, they say that 1 out of 30 cases, the pill worked by preventing a fertilized egg from implanting rather than preventing fertilization altogether. Do you think we could get away with saying we intended to prevent conception, and the 1 in 30 cases were that didn’t happen were accidents? I mean if an occasional “accident” is inevitable given some action, can we really call it an accident? If we really talked about the lives of real human beings, is it worth it? Are we responsible for those occasional people who die from lack of implantation just because they are the unintended result of taking the pill?
Filipino politicians have always been engaged in demagoguery.
so you are proud that we are number one in teen pregnancies in the asean. thats sad.
pasimuno dyan si gloria eh, iba ka talaga dapat sa iyo weldingin yong bakal sa leeg mo.mga alipores mong obispo at de pamilyang pari hangang hanga sa drama mo. Dapat umpisahan na nating suportahan ang presidente sa pagpasa ng rh bill at pagpakulong sa mga buwaya
Kalokohan ang sinasabi mo gunggong na fishball.
D ka parin makatubo ng utak kaya siguro parati ka namin pinapahiya dito. Mahirap supportahan ang isang katulad mo na puro kagaguhan lang ang pinopost dito. Gunggong ka talaga.
I wonder why fishball doesn’t sing all praises to Ramos, who had a comprehensive (and relatively successful) RH program of his own while he was president.
Or is he just really that obsessed with Aquino that he might as well rank as a sycophant?
Fishball. Question. Do you also have 20 and 21st off as a government employee?
Nobody here will believe you. I mean, why would we believe to someone who is an obsessed Yellowtard.
You’re very proud to be IMMATURE. And you love it. 😛
THIS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE.You do not want to have a child? WEAR A CONDOM,problem solved/case closed.WHAT?YOU DO NOT WANT TO CATCH HIV VIRUS? WEAR A CONDOM.problem solved/case closed.
In this day and age it is ALMOST difficult to comprehend that there is a national debate on this matter.The only reason it is ALMOST difficult to comprehend is because it is being debated in the Philippines. That is what makes it ALMOST un-believable.
The major problem with the RH Bill is the budget to be used. It uses a taxpayer’s contribution for easy access contraceptives. It is like rewarding lazy people to have intercourse.
Instead of rewarding those people, why not try to use the budget for infrastructures, better salaries and benefits for low rank government employees, create jobs, schools and improve the economy. Creating jobs and equal opportunities are best ways for population control.
If the problem is unwanted pregnancy then there should be no law of this kind that could stimulate someone to commit abortion because chances are high that once it is put into law, there’s is a possible increase in cases of infant mortality because the law itself provides the reason for it to happen.
With or without the comedian Sotto’s speech. We are now multiplying like Rabbits. What is more sinful: to bring children into this world, that you cannot take care of their basic needs. Or, to prevent these children, from being born….because, for sure, you cannot take care of their needs…
The bottomline is don’t have sex at all if you’re not able to bare the consequences. Sadly, due to boredom and lack of education, our “masas” time killer is sex. It feels good and cheap (if you have a partner). They also have this mentality in which if you have more kids, the more chance that one of them will be the golden egg.
Education is what we need, jobs for the poor and proper urban planning. I think it’s not time for RH bill because it’s not really the concern right now!
Also the same mentality as with raffles.
The more entries, the more chances of winning.
Just thinking, when he said that he blames the contraceptive pills his wife took that’s why he’s son has a heart failure, is he pretty much sure that it is because of the pills? Or was it because he was taking drugs at that time? (as there were rumors of him taking drugs)
And one more thing, I am not saying that his wife lied to her. Contraceptive pills are supposedly taken daily, and if you just forgot a day of taking it, BANG! As a wife and a mother, thinking it was her fault that her son was born with a heart failure and the doctors saying that it was because of the pill, would she be honest or admit it was her fault? Everybody has their own little dark secret. Just saying.
When Tito Sotto says “jump”, the filipino people don’t say “how high”. They roll with laughter.
Just read in the news that the Senator used words in his speech from a blogger.
In short, plagiarism.